As a college graduate, not only did your years in college expose you to new information and introduce new experiences, earning your degree likely also left you with thousands of dollars in student loans. In fact, 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients leave college with debt.
While paying off student loans may feel like an uphill battle that’s marked with stress and frustration, college debt can be conquered. Here are 5 clever tips for paying off your student loans and saying goodbye to this debt for good.
- Become a Freelancer
Unless you want to pay thousands of dollars in interest on your loans, one of the best things you can do to pay off your student loans quicker is to make higher payments. Paying just the minimum doesn’t help to chip away at your loan debt.
If you have a day job but also have some free time, consider picking up a freelance gig. You can make money online creating content, posting ads, or offering odd jobs. Put your freelance money towards your debt and watch how quickly the balance starts to decrease.
To save more money over time, contact your student loan servicer and ask that your extra payments be applied towards the loans with the highest interest.
- Look for Helpful Programs
No matter if you’re graduating in a few months or a few years, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’ll tackle your student loans. While most people assume that they will have to pay the total cost out of their own pocket, you’ll be pleased to know that there are all sorts of programs that can be used to help pay down your student loans.
Commonly used programs include:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness
- Perkins Loan Cancellation
There are all sorts of programs that offer loan forgiveness. For example, if you work as a public servant for a certain amount of years for the federal government, you may qualify for loan forgiveness. You’ll also find that there are state and local programs that help you pay off your student loans.
If you’re wondering how to lower my student loan payment, there are all sorts of options. Just as you can refinance a house, you can also refinance your student loans. Instead of dealing with high interest rates that make it even harder (and longer!) for you to pay down your loans, avoid the problem altogether by refinancing your loans. There are many lenders who offer lower rates which means you’ll not only have a lower monthly payment, more of your money will go towards the principle balance.
By refinancing your loans, you’ll have a single loan to pay down versus several. This makes it much less of a hassle to figure out where your payment is going. Refinancing is a great option if you’re serious about paying down your student loans.
- Pay Bi Weekly Versus Monthly
Most student loans come with a set monthly payment. By splitting this payment in two and paying on a biweekly basis, you can pay off your debt more quickly.
Let’s assume you owe $40,000 in student loans. With a standard 10 year pay off plan, your monthly payment is at least $400. But, by splitting this payment in half and paying $200 bi weekly, you’ll notice that your loan balance decreases much faster. This is because a lower percentage of the payment goes towards interest. The more money you apply towards the principal balance, the quicker your student loans will be paid off.
- Apply for a 0% Interest Credit Card
Paying debt by opening a line of credit may not make much sense on the surface, but if you’re loans are marked with a double-digit interest rate, you may find that a simple and effective way to pay off your student loans is to apply for a 0% interest credit card.
With this type of card, you pay no interest during the set promotional period. This means you can transfer a good chunk of your student loans to the credit card and pay it off without paying any interest. This saves you money in the long-run as you don’t have to pay principle and interest costs.
To avoid getting in over your head, be sure that the credit card limit you choose is one that you can comfortably afford to pay during the promotional period. If you don’t pay off the total credit card balance during the promotional period, you’ll likely be hit with a high interest rate on the remaining balance. Some credit card issuers will charge interest on the entire original balance.
It’s never easy to pay off a large amount of debt. But, by having a plan and sticking with it, paying off your student loans is achievable. Before you know it, your loan amount will be at $0 and you can jump for joy.